Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Society: Community Based Ecological Monitoring Program

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: environmental monitoring, traditional knowledge, community engagement

Principal Investigator: Crewe, Jodi (1)
Licence Number: 15654
Organization: Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Society
Licensed Year(s): 2018 2017 2017 2015 2013 2012 2011 2009 2008 2006
Issued: Mar 20, 2015
Project Team: (Community Monitor, Inuvik HTC), (Community Monitor, Nihtat Gwich'in RRC), (Community Monitor, Gwichya Gwich'in RRC), (Community Monitor, Tetlit Gwich'in RRC), (Community Monitor, Aklavik HTC), (Community Monitor, Tuktoyaktuk HTC), (Community Monitor, Ehdiitat RRC)

Objective(s): To monitor and assess changes in the Porcupine Caribou herd range and nearby coastal and marine areas through interviews with local experts.

Project Description: The Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Society (ABEKS) uses both local and scientific knowledge to monitor and assess changes in an area that covers the range of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and nearby coastal and marine areas. Interviews with local experts are conducted annually by community researchers. Observations about fish, berries, caribou, unusual animal sightings, weather conditions, and other aspects of the environment are recorded. These observations are presented and discussed at the Annual Gatherings and at community meetings and are accessible on the ABEKS website.

Community researchers from each community (1 in Tsiigehtchic, 1 in Fort McPherson, 1 in Tuktoyaktuk and 2 each in Inuvik and Aklavik) interview Gwich'in or Inuvialuit hunters and trappers. Researchers will receive training and on-going support in interview techniques, report writing, and presentation skills. Researchers will be responsible for conducting approximately 20 interviews with members of their own community. The research team will prepare a final written report and give a presentation at the Community Gathering. These Gatherings will also be a venue for local representatives to validate and review interim findings. They can either take place in each community or at a central gathering place depending on the year. Approximately 20 hunters and trappers from each community will be sought to give interviews concerning their observations from their experience on the land over the past year. Each interviewee will receive a copy of their community's report. Final reports will be widely distributed and available from local organizations. Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Society (ABEKS) has also hosted youth gatherings in conjunction with the annual gathering and is looking into involving more youth in its programs, possibly as an in-school indicator monitoring program.

Each person interviewed will receive the report put together by their local researcher. The Community Gathering, open to all interested individuals and organizations, is an important method by which results are communicated. Observations from each set of interviews will be presented and discussed and each presentation becomes an important component of the Proceedings. Gathering Proceedings will be widely available from local organizations or ABEKS. The ABEKS website is also an important communication tool and contains past Gathering Proceedings as well as the results from the community monitoring program. Audio material and videos available on the website are forthcoming.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from March 20, 2015 to December 31, 2015.